Monday, June 27, 2011

My Money Where My Heart Is

As June 30 approaches, so does the fiscal year-end of my high school and my college, as well as the liberal arts school at which I am employed (and, probably your schools, too!). My alma maters are my main philanthropic priority, although I also give to Polybe + Seats, my local NPR station, and more modestly to many other organizations. Last year, I made my annual gifts to my schools on a bi-monthly basis, via online transfer from my checking account. Coincidentally, I also made the largest gifts to each that I ever have. It was simple to do. I rarely thought about it once I'd set up the payment plan, and six installments of each gift didn't pinch too much at all. 


For FY12, I want to follow that age-old suggestion to give away 10% and save 10% of my income. This is a pretty significant bump-up for me in both categories. It is manageable, but, like everything worthwhile in my life, will require some discipline (especially since I generally use my savings account as a way to pay off my monthly Visa balance!). Still, I look forward to building my emergency fund and being able to support more substantially the organizations in which I believe.

My dad has often reminded me that "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy."

Friends, I welcome inspiration from you on your approach to saving/sharing your wealth. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

There's a Pill For That

Who needs pesky old exercise when you could take a gelcap? 

image: A for-real magazine advert for OTC pain meds,
which I couldn't resist tearing and sharing. 

I love (read: do not love at all) the implication that drugs are the clear, self-caring choice over, say, yoga and "that sort of thing."). This reminds me of an ad for heartburn medicine that showed a beefy middle-aged dude holding a chili dog and grimacing in pain with the caption, "Why should you have to change your lifestyle to be free of acid reflux?"

Why, indeed? 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help 'Em Dig Their Own Grave

Introducing the KIG debut of Polybe + Seats, a theatrical collaborative which routinely knocks my socks off with its on-stage wizardry. Polybe brings together seemingly unrelated topics in unusual venues and makes it all make sense in the most unexpected ways. 

Next up: Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers tackles body-snatching and medical experimentation (I know -- awesome, right?). I got a glimpse last winter, and my tummy is rumbling for more. 

Speaking of hunger, the Bread and Puppet folks say: "ART IS FOOD. You can't eat it, but it feeds you." Polybe is everything you want in your art-supper: organic, nutritious, and explode-in-your-mouth delicious. Also, I have known some of these people since we were hanging out on the steps of Milbank Hall at Barnard, and I am so friggin' proud of 'em, I could BURST. 

Of course, making theatre requires serious lettuce. Polybe has launched its first-ever "crowdfunding" campaign hosted by It's really a cute site -- you should take a look!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seal of Approval

My aunt sent me an email forward with a clever little greene idea I couldn't resist sharing. It's a way to re-use plastic bottle caps, which, as I've mentioned here, can't be recycled with the rest of the bottle. Instead of tossing them (or, before you decide they are ready to hit Aveda), you can use them to seal plastic baggies!

1. Cut up a disposable water bottle and keep the neck and top, as below.

2. Insert the plastic bag through the neck and screw the top to seal. Now, the bag is air-tight, and you've saved yourself the hassle of finding a twist tie.

3. Voila -- snacks stay in their sack! Cute, huh?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quick! Limited-Quantity Jewelry With Soul

Sad news for silver-and-gold fans! Lizzie Flanagan's jewelry company, pieces of a girls (jewelry with soul)  will soon be a mere memory as the artist moves onto other pursuits. Since 2002, Lizzie has been mixing sterling silver, 24 karat vermeil, and thoughtfully plated brass, to gorgeous effect. I bought a stacked necklace for my mother, my sister-in-law, and (surprise!) myself, this past winter. The presents were a hit, and I haven't taken mine off. (Not only do I adore the work, itself, but I can only wear 14k gold earrings, and having the dual-tone necklace means I can wear silver bracelets again. Glory be!)

If you're one of the lucky few (and, if you're reading this blog, you're certainly one of a few, haha), you can enjoy a generous discount on her gorgeous stamped pendants and earring while supplies last. Go to and enter discount code loveforyou to receive a whopping 45% off your purchase!

Trust me, these are great to have in your gift closet for someone(s) special. Captivated by Lizzie's style? Check out her newest creation:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ken Tighe

In her thoughtful and wide-ranging blog, Samantha Hankey shouts out to one of my very favorite painters, the much-admired Ken Tighe.

Broadmoor, Little Falls, 2010 12" x 12" oil on panel

Tighe is not only a tremendous and distinctive voice in contemporary realist painting, but he has an incredible, magnetic gift for guiding young artists in developing their craft. I guess it's an understatement to say that he has a bit of a following among students and former students. The good news is that he's been making more time for his own work lately. Do yourself a very Greene favor and take a gander at

Portrait of the work in progress.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Local Flavor

The Island Has Many Secrets

Props to hometown girl Wenonah Madison Sauer and her professional-chef hubby of 7a Farms for making it into Daily Candy. From pop-up dinners to a new breakkie & lunch counter, 7a's got so much Greene going on:


  • local & homegrown
  • organic
  • entrepreneurial
  • family-focused
  • following their passion

Best of all, Wenonah's bringin' it all back home to nurture and feed the community that raised her. How inspiring!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Very Greene Earth Day To You!

"Everything is Connected"

Photo: The Island Institute

In honor of Earth Day, a shout-out to The Island Institute. For over 25 years, the Institute has helped sustain the year-round islands and coastal communities in the great state of Maine. (In related good news, it is now supported in that effort by recently-appointed Annual Fund Director Seth Taylor.*) More good news: there are pretty things to look at/purchase after the fold...
"Our perspective is fundamentally ecological, based on an understanding that all life is intimately linked with its environment; that people are therefore an inextricable part of the ecosystem..." 

Photo: The Island Institute

Many people know and love the Maine islands and maritime communities as pristine and beautiful vacation spots. Of course, life for locals can be a different (um...) kettle of fish. It takes serious thought and effort to maintain ecologic and economic health in places like Peaks Island, Matincus, Isle au Haut, and Swan's Island, and that's what the Institute is all about. It works humanitarian and environmental magic through many clever strategies that you can read about and support at

Want to be privy to all the new sugar? Sign up for The Working Waterfront, the Institute's cheerful, inspiring, slice-of-life-sharing monthly inter-island e-newsletter. 


In further celebration of The Day the Earth Got Love: unique, handmade art, craft and design shopportunities!

Archipelago helps island and Maine artists and artisans gain exposure and earn income. Sales advance efforts to sustain island communities. A few faves...

These totally remind me of fairy baskets...

“Evening Tide II” Basket by Towanda Brown

Island Basket by Towanda Brown

Who needs a GPS when you can let your accessories be your guide?

Map Bracelets by Cynthia Caldwell, Peaks Island, Maine

Do wind chimes drive you bonkers? Not me -- I love 'em, and the sea glass brings the ocean right to your backdoor.

Baxter Wind Chimes by Goose Rock Designs, Arundel, Maine

I simply cannot resist these little guys -- total harbingers of spring. Baaaah!

Needle-Felted Sheep by the appropriately-named Keely Felton, Vinalhaven, Maine

Compelled to connect, but have no more room on your shelf? You can simply make a charitable gift to the Island Institute. Which is really a gift to yourself and all of us.

* Seth's move to the Island Institute left many a sorely-charged Wellesley College heart, but we are grateful to him for guiding us to see and appreciate the nature-made splendor of our campus home. Cheers, Seth!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out-Greeneing the Greene: Tossing the TP (or... "Waste Not, Want Not")

Even though I know better, I had somehow come to perceive myself as living on the extreme side of Greene. I bring my lunch in Pyrex, reuse (and re-reuse) every plastic or paper bag I come across, and recycle like there's a contest and the prize is James Franco. I clean (*when* I clean, haha) with baking soda and vinegar, and have gotten tsk-tsked many times for attempting to send used paper through the copier at work. I love dirt, I buy local meats, and I feel appropriately guilty on the rare occasion that I forget my cloth grocery bags. I have even been known to tuck lightly-used paper restaurant napkins into my handbag for later. I know, right? I'm craazy. I could go on and on about my quirks, but you get the point: a garden-variety eco-responsible human -- slightly obsessed, but that's part of my charm.

That said, the sustainability spectrum is wide, and I recently found out just how wide. took me to school... à la toilette... when I stumbled upon this post about nixing toilet paper in favor of reusable cloth wipes. Fun for the whole family!


I commend this kind of hardcore footprint-reduction. I love SortaCrunchy's courage in putting it out there. And, props for her unflinching answers to the FAQ, which were very informative. Turns out, there is one more wonderful use for vinegar: scent-reduction in your "wet bag!"

I'm not gonna say "never," although this is definitely something (like getting a ferret, or being a Kardashian) that should be full approved ahead of time by one's housemates and mine, so far, have shown no interest in such a revolution. Also, in my case, there are so many other ways I can beef up my Greene that I don't even have to consider the question at the moment. (Phew!)

That said, if you are curious, but need a little nudge, just think, with all the tree pulp you save, you could be a beautiful bride...

Toilet Paper Wedding Dress!


... just let the lucky guy know ahead of time exactly what you mean when you say, "waste not!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greene for the Little Bean


I am completely enamored of this play-kitchen a friend created from recyclables to help her little guy learn his way around the most important room in the house. I love the time and care she took to do it. I love that almost no new materials were used. Of course, I love her color scheme (!), and, finally, I love that it's for a BOY. Granted, a fully-stocked weapons artillery might have been slightly more complicated to create from cardboard boxes, but, still, big ups to Courtney at beautyfullyused for giving her wee lad free reign to imagine his way through shopping, chopping, mixing, baking, broiling, scrubbing, and generally having a good ol' time alongside Mom and Dad in the heart of the home.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ignore the 12% Behind the Curtain

You can't make this stuff up.

Innocently letting Pandora lull me this afternoon, I thought my ears were playing a trick on me when I heard Taco Bell advertising the main element of a Crunchwrap Supreme as "88% premium beef and 12% special recipe."

"Special recipe?" 12 whole percent's worth? 

I cop to being out of the loop, since this item is nothing new, but my amazement is fresh to me, and perhaps I'm not alone in living under a rock, shielded from the shenanigans in fastfoodland.

Anyway, when I hear "special recipe," my paranoid mind hears that as code for "weird-a** stuff you don't want to know you're eating." They aren't referring to the bun or the lettuce. They mean that what looks, to the uninformed observer, like hamburger meat. Apparently, 88 parts bovine to a dozen parts "other" is something to be celebrated in fast food circles. Color me impressed!

I couldn't resist a little exploring, and, to the Bell's credit, the website provides lots of nutritional info. The video was overkill (paid employees endorsing the product -- quelle surprise!), but, after a few lucky clicks I found zippy, conversational explanations about the purpose of various "Seasoned Beef" ingredients. Who knows, it might be just fine. I'm no scientist. But ohmygosh, the whole thing seems ambiguously sketchville to me. It's "special sauce" for the iGeneration.

Just to say: I loves me some red meat, no question. I just chowed on burgers last night, in fact, made from locally-raised, grass-fed beef courtesy of my friends Laurie and John at Meadow Mist Farm. I consider myself mucho fortunate to have a resource like this close at hand. Even if I didn't, I'd still prefer to retain that precious "extra" 12%.

PS: I know I'm late to the party here, but I can't help stating that I am officially terrified by "Fourthmeal." TB invented this clever term a few years back, and translated it as "the meal between dinner and breakfast." Because Americans need one of these! As it happens, the afore-mentioned Crunchwrap provides a full 1/3 of the RDA for saturated fat and half a day's sodium, so let's hope the other three meals are made mostly of air.